8. He’s still too reliant, at times, on his radio commentating tendencies where he seems unable to stop describing everything that’s happening on the pitch even though we, the viewer, can see the same thing unfolding before our eyes (for example, “Alonso passes the center circle,” “Ramos on the right wing,” etc.).
9. I could have done without Johnson letting us know the corner count every single time a corner was taken.
Despite a shaky start with Johnson and Barton talking too much about the off-the-field matters instead of concentrating on commentating the game, Johnson grew into game and obviously showed that he did his homework. Coupled with a more experienced co-commentator, Johnson has the potential to improve and to make his mark on the game with an uniquely American voice.
Whether you like Johnson or not depends partly on your preference for how a commentator calls a game. Should it be over enthusiastic excitement or something more understated? Such is the difference between Gus Johnson and Martin Tyler. Do you want your commentator to add more excitement into a shot that goes harmlessly wide, or would you prefer him to sound more excited that need be to raise your blood pressure? Vice-versa, with Tyler, do you want a spectacular goal to be given the relative silence and room to breathe or would you prefer over-the-top hysteria?
We’ve been there before with Tyler during the 2010 World Cup where Ian Darke ended up getting more of the bigger calls near the end of the tournament because Tyler’s style was too understated.
But this isn’t Martin Tyler versus Gus Johnson. It’s a decision by FOX to field a self-acclaimed soccer novice as its lead commentator from now through to the FIFA World Cup in 2018. On a Champions League match like this one, Johnson didn’t seem so out of place. Having him commentate a Premier League match is another matter entirely. Luckily for viewers in the United States, EPL Talk exclusively revealed this week that we believe NBC Sports is planning on using UK native commentators.
Despite my reservations about Johnson last week and some of the mistakes he made today, he showed enough promise to show that FOX Soccer may be on to something. It’s a different style than what we’re used, and he will hopefully improve over time. He’s never going to be as good as Martin Tyler or other top British commentators, but it’s FOX’s decision and it’s one that they obviously believe in. Gus Johnson is not everyone’s cup of tea, just as Martin Tyler is not everyone’s cup of coffee.